The Valuation of Heritage Interpretation for Conservation and Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Historic City of Ayutthaya

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Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn


This paper is a contingent valuation study for eliciting the value of the heritage interpretation of cultural heritage sites by using the Historic City of Ayutthaya, which is the listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO as the study site. To conserve the cultural heritage site sustainably, heritage interpretation is the one of the essential factors that has to be taken into account because heritage interpretations, for example, signs, information boards, brochures, booklets, pamphlets, tourist guides, and demonstrations, are instruments that can convey the authentic values that lay inside the heritage site for the visitors. Single-bounded dichotomous choice questions were employed in this contingent valuation study with two hypothetical programs; the first program was the restoration and improvement program for three major historic sites, and the second program was scaled up for fifteen historic sites. The payment vehicle used was one – day package entrance fee because of its incentive compatibility. Furthermore, intriguing methodological issues, which were distance decay, anchoring bias, and scope effect, were also investigated in this study. According to the empirical results, the willingness to pay values of heritage interpretation restoration and improvement program for three major historic sites and fifteen historic sites were shown at 137.44 Baht per visitor and 422.44 Baht per visitor respectively. Amazingly, distance decay was previously believed to be found but was not. Furthermore, it was found that this study passes the scope test and no anchoring bias was statistically found.

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